We recently wrote Texas Creationism: Textbook Selection Time, in which we reported that the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) would be having a public hearing on September 17 to review the work of the “experts” it had appointed to make recommendations on textbooks. To no one’s surprise, among those review teams were a number of creationists.
Tomorrow is the big day for the public hearing. The creationists are already gathering, like zombies rising from the dead. Soon they’ll be mindlessly storming the SBOE meeting as they try to devour the brains of the living. The odor of rotting flesh is in the air.
The Dallas Morning News has a long article about it: Evolution at center of new Texas education board debate over science textbooks and e-books. A few excerpts (with our bold font) should be sufficient:
State Board of Education members will hold a public hearing Tuesday on proposed high school biology textbooks and e-books that will be used in schools for eight years beginning next fall. Not surprisingly, treatment of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in those materials has again sparked sharp disagreements between social conservatives and science educators.
We’re told that in Texas one can hear the eerie summons: “Arise, all ye undead! Climb out of your crypts and march on the SBOE hearing!” All right, we won’t do much more of that. Let’s get back to the Dallas Morning News:
But the political situation on the education panel has changed since 2009, when it decided the standards for science classes throughout the state. Social conservatives then were able to push for questions about evolution. Now, their near-majority on the board is gone. So they may have trouble exerting influence on textbook publishers.
That’s true. The one-time leader of the SBOE creationist faction — Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist — is no longer there. Let’s read on:
“This is a very different group of people than were here when the science standards were approved in 2009,” said board member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant. Ratliff defeated the creationist board member who led the charge to question basic tenets of Darwin’s theory in science books and classes. [They’re referring to McLeroy.] “I have a high degree of confidence that a reasonable conclusion will be reached regarding the biology materials,” he said. He cited the “very high marks” that the initial drafts of the seven books received from leading science educator groups.
Let’s hope he’s right. We continue:
The [textbook review] committees included several evolution critics and creationists. Several have urged the education board to not adopt the books unless publishers include more disclaimers on evolution. One reviewer even suggested that coverage of “creation science” be mandated for every biology textbook. That would violate a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The decision banned teaching of creationism in science classes.
That’s probably a reference to Edwards v. Aguillard. Here’s one last excerpt:
Most criticism of the books has been more along the lines of State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands. She testified to a legislative committee this year on how evolution was covered in lesson plans used in hundreds of school districts.
“Our intent is to teach all sides of scientific explanation,” she told lawmakers. “But I couldn’t find anything that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson was taught as: ‘This is how the origin of life happened. This is what the fossil record proved.’ That is all fine. But that is only one side.”
She couldn’t find “another side to the theory of evolution.” BWAHAHAHAHAHA! There isn’t another side, you twit!
We’re not even halfway through the news story, so if you’re interested, click over to the Dallas Morning News to read the rest of it. Also, that same newspaper has a great column on the subject by Jacquielynn Floyd. See Why can’t Texas evolve beyond anti-science foolishness? It’s definitely worth reading.
We’ll leave the topic for now, but before we close we feel an obligation to give you this Curmudgeonly warning: If you’re in Texas, watch out for the zombies. They want to eat your brains!
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